Stalled with your art and haven’t been creating lately? Life IS complicated, and your art can seem to be the easiest thing to shove out of an overflowing schedule. After a bit, NOT painting
becomes the norm and you may need a jumpstart.
All the art in this post is by Janette Rozene of Dobbs Ferry, NY. In her words, “I had barely picked up a paintbrush since my son was born in 1993, so when I read in Lillian’s blog that she would be doing a workshop in New York City, I was thrilled. I was hoping that painting with her would break me out of my paralysis, and the terrific news is that it did; now I’m painting on my weekends.” The pieces shown here were done during the workshop.
Let’s look at some of the ingredients that created a jumpstart for Janette and got her art-engine purring:
1. Keep it no-excuse simple. Both your art supplies and your desires need to be simple enough so that there is no excuse for not doing a bit of work. Janette kept it simple with a 5″x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb. spiral watercolor notebook for her watercolor and gouache pieces (and the kit explained in lessons 14 and 15). She used a smaller spiral pad for her drawings. Her desires were simple enough – show up and do what the group did. Her medium had always been oils, but oils generally can’t be taken out and used in such a short amount of time – one of the reasons she wasn’t working.
It you feel that you can’t make your art fit into your schedule; simplify your supplies and your plans. You can always find a scrap of paper and five minutes. Even One Minute of concentrated drawing will keep the habit up and probably make you (and, therefore, those around you) happier. Some of the exercises that we did in the workshop took one minute – and some could be done while walking (as unlikely as that seems until you try it). It’s not ideal to work this way all the time, but, if it’s all you have time for, it will keep your art-life running. The pieces in this post took less than an hour each.
2. Set specific, but flexible, mini goals. We had numerous little assignments / exercises during the workshop. They were designed to restore our energy from the previous activity. Write a list of mini projects that could fit into your schedule and that would suit your anticipated energy level. Sometimes we feel exhausted, but what we really need is just a change in activities. Examples that might work for you: drawing the people around you during a child’s game or doing a watercolor of a flower while listening to the news. Allow yourself to switch ideas if you get inspired by something else when the time comes – as long as it’s still artwork.
3. Make “Create” dates with other people. If you find that “stuff” keeps getting in the way of your intention to create, make a date to work with someone and create together. It won’t be so easy to decide at the last minute that you “really should do the laundry instead” if you have agreed to meet someone or signed up for a class.
4. Don’t judge your art while you’re working. Such thoughts will only hurt your concentration. While you’re working, don’t question what your project is (that has already been decided) or how “good” your results seem to be. Remember, however, that not judging is not the same as being sloppy in your effort…
5. Work with full engagement. Each time you work, work with full intention and focus. Always try to do your best – the best you can under the circumstances.